LATE BLOOMS: Time of Fireflies
It was the twenty-third, not the twenty-first.
But a two-day difference does not much matter, does it?
Especially when the stage for its staging had long been set,
the martial law declaration by Ferdinand Marcos the president.
Presidential Proclamation 1081 of 1972 September
and its aftermath many of our generation will always remember,
and may all Filipino generations coming after
never forget what in our history was a dark chapter.
With that act a pall of darkness over the land descended.
Liberties and rights hard earned were disregarded
and enemies of the regime persecuted and incarcerated
as the dictator and his cronies unleashed their greed.
It was the time when “salvage” took on a new meaning:
to be salvaged became not anymore a good thing,
rather it meant an unceremonious violent killing –
a fate reserved for those whose views were not to the regime’s liking.
But still many were those who refused to bow to the darkness,
tiny fireflies who in the deep night bravely kept alive the brightness,
who with nothing but sheer determination and courage
the dictator’s armed might dared stand up to and challenge.
Not a few were the fireflies who fell in the night,
countless, nameless, faceless martyrs in freedom’s fight
who gave strength with their selfless sacrifice and dauntless spirit
for the final triumph of the light over the darkness of night.
Yes, Proclamation 1081 of 1972 ushered in a time of darkness.
But we remember too that it was also a time of brave fireflies.
Let not those who would rewrite history by peddling lies
make us forget that reign of greed and darkness
or the valiant spirit of a thousand fallen fireflies.
Eric S.B. Libre
1 September 2015
(Eric S.B. Libre is a Mindanawon freelance development consultant who has done some work in a number of conflict-affected areas of Mindanao and occasionally dabbles in creative writing. He lives in Digos City, and is proud to be a senior citizen.)